Sunday, August 14, 2022

Review: Project Pay Day

Author: Brent Hartinger
Started reading: August 2nd 2022
Finished the book: August 5th 2022
Pages: 206
Genres: Middle Grade
Published: February 21nd 2021
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads score: Not enough ratings
My score:
Dave and his two best friends, Hannah and Curtis, are looking forward to a summer of complete freedom, but their parents have another idea: they insist that the three teenagers get summer jobs. But the friends come up with a plan: Why not invent fake jobs to get their parents off their backs? The trouble is, their parents are going to want to see them bringing in real money. And that means finding a way to get-rich-quick, but without breaking the law, and without doing any actual work.

The summer passes and Dave, Curtis, and Hannah try a long list of schemes: trying to catch bank robbers to win the reward; scientifically calculating the “correct” number of jelly beans in a contest jar; finding and exploring a network of underground smugglers' tunnels; and even diving for sunken treasure. But “Project Pay Day” never quite goes according to plan, and they don’t make the money they need. Soon summer is almost over, and they have no choice but to solve a big local mystery — or face the consequences of their actions, which includes their parents breaking up the trio for good!

My thoughts
I've read two books by Brent Hartinger before; The Otto Digmore Difference & The Otto Digmore Deciscion and I LOVED those books. When I saw this one on Netgalley I was excited to start reading it. Sadly, it didn't live up to my expectations. It was a fairly enjoyable book, but nothing amazing, in my opinion.

  • Information: The information and history about Tacoma were a lot of fun to read! It made the book much more real. I'm interested in anything history anyways, so the parts about the history of Tacoma were fun to read!
  • Creative: This book contains a lot of creative ways to make money. I was very curious what the main characters would come up with next to make some money.
  • Coming of age: This book feels very much like a coming of age story and I always love a good one. I do feel that Brent Hartinger writes good LGBTQIA+ books, and I would have loved for that to play a bigger part in this book. Next to it being a coming of age book, it could also have been a great coming out book.
  • Believable: This story was a lot of fun, but not at all that believable. For example: The money they make on a garage sale? I never got over 300 euros so it's pretty far fetched in my opinion. The book was adventurous, but it just didn't feel very real to me and that took away some of the fun for me. I was like: "Yeah, right..." Several times.
I would definitely recommend the Otto Digmore books by Brent Hartinger way more than this book. It just wasn't for me. "Maybe I'm too old", is what I ask myself when I don't like Middle Grade books, but I do feel like a bit of realism is definitely wanted in Middle Grade books and this one had some very far fetched parts. I did love the history aspect, the coming of age and the creative ways of making money.

Other opinions on this book
"The friendship, lightly and expertly depicted, drives the book, while their smartly plotted moneymaking schemes are creative, highjinks-filled, and hilariously almost effective."
- Horn Book Review

"The characters ring true, and teens will appreciate that the trio puts more effort into evading work than they would have expended at a real job. An amusing story with great teen appeal."
- Booklist

Memorable quotes from this book
"One of them says, 'Why did they do it?'
And the other answers, 'Because they could.'
That is the only answer there ever is."

Thanks for reading!
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~ Esther